Alexandria’s only public high school as well as Jefferson-Houston School, serving kindergarten through 8th grades, have been designated by the Virginia Department of Education as priority schools.
Priority schools such as T.C. Williams High School must utilize state-approved partners to help design and implement school reform models meeting state and federal requirements.
An Alexandria City Public Schools spokeswoman said T.C. Williams likely will not be considered a priority school next year if it continues making the progress it has made during the last two years.
“The waivers from NCLB mandates granted by the Obama administration to Virginia and other states mark a dramatic shift in federal education policy,” said state Superintendent of Public Instruction Patricia Wright. “We are now able to target school turnaround efforts and resources to those schools where students are truly falling behind.”
The No Child Left Behind flexibility program requires states to designate the lowest-performing 5 percent of Title 1 and Title 1-eligible schools as priority schools. The VDOE designated 36 schools in the state as priority schools.
Additionally, the department identified John Adams and Patrick Henry elementaries as focus schools, which now must employ a state-approved coach “to help develop, implement and monitor intervention strategies to improve student performance,” according to a statement from VDOE. Those two Alexandria elementary schools are part of 72 focus schools across the state, representing 10 percent of Virginia’s Title I schools.
The department also identified 485 schools where improvement plans are required. In Alexandria, those are Charles Barrett, Polk, Maury, Mount Vernon and Samuel Tucker elementaries as well as Francis Hammond 3 and the two George Washington middle schools.